Remote Breathalyzer Market: Growing awareness for drug testing coupled with government initiatives to drive the market

From the public safety point of view, it is very important to keep drunk drivers off the roads. As per the data by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. alone, approximately 10,000 people die each year in driving crashes due to driving while drunk. A breathalyzer is a device for estimating blood alcohol concentration/content (BAC) from a breath sample. In most of the countries, alcohol intoxication is legally demarcated by the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level and a driver is prohibited from driving when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Withdrawing blood or urine sample at the site and examining it later is not feasible and practical and hence the possibility of estimating BAC indirectly by assessing the amount of alcohol in one's breath poses good market opportunity for these devices. 

Remote breathalyzer is a portable electrochemical fuel cell-based instruments used for preliminary breath test (PBT) or preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) which is performed in the field. These devices works on the principle of a chemical reaction between sulfuric acid, potassium dichromate, silver nitrate and water. Alcohol present in the air is absorbed by the sulfuring acid and the solution color changes from reddish orange dichromate ions to green chromium ions. The reaction is catalyzed by the presence of silver nitrate and the degree of the color change is used to quantify the amount of alcohol in the exhaled air. The standard mixture (unreacted) in the photocell system is compared with the reaction mixture to compute the BAC.

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On the basis of technology, remote breathalyzers can be classified into three categories: fuel cell testers, semiconductor oxide-based testers, and spectrophotometer testers.  Fuel cell-based breathalyzers are more sensitive and are classified as professional level testers.  They are also portable and give an extremely accurate reading. Fuel cell testers define intoxication levels through the alcohol oxidation in breath samples. The device enables a chemical reaction with alcohol to generate an electric current. The current produced is proportional to amount of alcohol in the blood and used as a measure to scale a persons’ BAC. Spectrophotometer testers are not portable and use infrared light for alcohol detection. Semiconductor oxide-based testers are relatively new to the market and use alcohol-based sensors to estimate alcohol level in blood. However, semiconductor oxide-based testers are not very accurate and are categorized as personal model. The growth of the global remote breathalyzer is mainly driven by increasing alcohol and drug abuse cases and stringent government laws and regulations. Moreover, growing popularity and demand for personal breathalyzers and development of cost-effective alcohol breathalyzers in emerging markets is expected to witness rapid surge in the demand during the forecast period.

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The global breathalyzers market has been segmented on the basis of end users into security agencies, hospitals, home care facilities, and rehabilitation centers. Security agencies are the largest end-users of breathalyzers. However, growing personal use of breathalyzers is expected to increase during the forecast period from 2016 to 2024. Geographically, the global remote breathalyzer market can be segmented into five key regions, namely, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa and Latin America. In past, North America has dominated the market due to enactment and implementation of stringent laws by the government in the region. However, developing nations in Asia Pacific are expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period. Growing awareness for drug testing coupled with government initiatives, increased public awareness and reduction in cost are the major drivers for the market growth in these geographies. The major restraint for the market can be violation privacy rights in some countries. High pricing and less opportunities for new market players in developed regions can also be the restraints for the market during the forecast period.

Key players in the market include Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc., Alere, Inc., Andatech Private Limited, BACtrack, Drägerwerk AG, Intoximeters, Inc., Lion Laboratories Limited, Lifeloc Technologies, Quest Diagnostics, Soberlink Healthcare LLC.

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